King wins two games at Pioneer Classic

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – Coming off its second top-25 win of the season among a pair of victories in the Pioneer Classic on Friday, the King University softball team continued its winning ways with wins over Mercyhurst University and East Stroudsburg University on Saturday to pull within a game of .500 on the young season.

In the first game of the afternoon, King scored a run rule-shortened 10-2 victory over Mercyhurst in five innings. The team totaled 13 hits in the game, as just two starters failed to reach base safely.

King broke the game open with a seven-run second inning. The Tornado were fortunate to trail just 1-0 after the Lakers (0-7) scored an unearned run on a passed ball but left a pair of runners stranded after reaching second and third base with one out. Chrissy Melcher opened the scoring with an RBI single through the left side to score Allie Spell, who had reached base on a fielder's choice and advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch. An RBI single by Cassie Ringstaff scored another run and advanced Melcher to third base before she crossed the plate on a double-steal to give King its third run of the inning. RBI hits by Fallon Thomas, Hannah Smith, and Cheyenne Delffs plated the remaining runs and gave the Tornado a 7-1 lead.

The Tornado tacked on another run in the third inning before two runs in the fifth ended the game. Melcher, Walker, and Delffs each had two runs batted in. Melcher went 3-for-4 at the plate, while Thomas was 2-for-3 and Delffs and Tori McComas each went 2-for-2 with a walk. Morgan Lowe earned her first win of the season in the circle, throwing five innings of five-hit ball with three strikeouts and one earned run allowed.

The Tornado (6-7) used the offensive momentum from the afternoon's first game to open up a two-run lead in the top of the first inning against East Stroudsburg (1-3). Melcher and Thomas singled to set the table for Smith, whose booming RBI double to center field allowed both runners to score with one out.

King would tack on a much-needed insurance run in the fifth inning to take a 3-0 lead. Octavia Lewis-Rand sent a grounder to third base, but a fielding error allowed the Tornado to plate a two-out run and extend the lead. The Warriors got a run back in the bottom of the frame, as an RBI double with two outs allowed Haley Thomas to score from first. The Tornado left two runners on base in the sixth inning, and East Stroudsburg used an RBI triple with two outs to pull within a run. But Hannah Light slammed the door in the seventh, inducing a popup and a groundout to the left side of the infield sandwiched around her seventh strikeout of the game to seal the win for King.

Light scattered six hits, two walks, and two earned runs over her seven innings of work to move her record to 5-3 on the season.

In Sunday's game, the Tornado will attempt to avenge a pair of losses against UVa-Wise in a rematch of a Tuesday doubleheader in Bristol. The Cavaliers defeated King by scores of 4-0 and 4-2 earlier this week, pulling away in the late innings of both contests. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.